The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter

Published: 1st November 2006 (print)/9th May 2006 (audio) Goodreads badge
Warne/Blackstone Publishing
Pages: 400/3 hrs 11 minutes
Narrator: Nadia May
Format: Audiobook
Genre: Short stories/Classic
★   ★   ★  ★  – 4 Stars

This complete and unabridged collection contains all of Beatrix Potter’s Tales in one deluxe volume with all their original illustrations. The stories are arranged in the order in which they were first published so they may be read in their proper sequence.

Of course the most well-known tale by Beatrix Potter is of Peter Rabbit, but that isn’t my favourite by far. I adore The Tailor of Glouster, and I have a soft spot for The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck. I was surprised that these tales aren’t as short as I remembered. Some of course are longer than others, but there is a decent story being told with intricate plots and characters, conflicts and drama of all kinds.

In this complete collection there were stories I knew, there were also characters I knew but whose stories I had never read. Then there were others that I had never heard of, like The Tale of Mrs Tittlemouse which was a delightful tale of the small mouse who was incredibly houseproud who must fight off intruders, and deal with the mess people kept making. I loved her little house with the larder and pantry, this underground world mimicking the human one.

There are many stories to love in this collection and I think perhaps the only one I wasn’t quite fond of was The Tale of Piggling Bland. It is one of her later ones and is certainly quite strange, though not overly complicated on the surface. I never could understand this story, even as a kid. The pigs being sent to market in hope of being bought by humans, but not for food but for labour, possibly? It’s all a bit strange and not one of her better ones in my opinion.

One things I did love was how Potter ages the characters. They are not the same forever, stuck in their youth and misgivings. Peter and Benjamin grow up, have families of their own and become responsible. I also love how the characters are connected to one another. Jemima Puddleduck is known to Tom Kitten and so forth. It creates a wonderful universe where there are also humans who interact with them, but they have their own society as well, with proper etiquette and propriety included. A smaller version of the human world.

Some tales have the animals interacting with humans, others don’t seem to have any connection at all. The little world where they shop and have their own homes, where there are others like them is a great society. The theme across all the stories is that the animals are their natural selves but also have human tendencies. They dress in clothes, but eat their typical food and have natural enemies. All a bit bizarre when you can talk to one another over sugar but at the same time have a neighbour eat another.

Nadia May does a brilliant job with the narration. Her gentle tone suited the stories remarkably well and because of how Potter has written the tales, it supports the idea that she is telling you the story herself.

I loved delving back into the world of these animals and their stories. Potter’s tales are a wonderful mixture of mischief, cautionary tales, and general life for these animals. Foxes lust after eggs, rats and mice infest houses, fish eat toads, but with bonnets and petticoats to manoeuvre there is also a delightful society of creatures, personified but not so much as it stops them being animals.

You can purchase The Complete Tales via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust | Audible

The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter


Today is the birthday of the delightfully wonderful author Beatrix Potter, author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck, and my absolute favourite story The Tailor of Gloucester.

Beatrix Potter was born Helen Beatrix Potter in 1866 to a wealthy Unitarian family. Potter didn’t have a lot of friends outside her family and she spent a lot of time with her parents and brother. Her education was done by a private governess until she was eighteen but she was taught multiple broad subjects such as languages, science, history, and literature.

Potter wrote twenty three books, each celebrating mature and country life and brought to life lasting characters such as Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck, Tom Kitten, and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and other wonderful characters each with a wonderful story of their own.

Not only is Potter a wonderfully storyteller, but all of her stories are told with beautiful illustrations she did herself. Her mother and father were artistic and she and her brother Walter Bertrum would often draw the various small animals they kept as pets. As a child she was given private art lessons and loved painting the natural world. I remember learning too that Potter was also very interested in biology and anatomy, and liked to see how things worked, which aided in her realistic drawings of animals.

Potter did not start as an author, but rather as an artist. Her paintings and drawings were not only of animals and nature but also insects, fossils, archaeological artefacts, and fungi. These make her recognisable by the scientific community, especially her mycological illustrations and research into the reproduction of fungus spores. It was from this success that Peter Rabbit was written and illustrated, first published privately in 1901 and a year later as a small, three-colour illustrated book through Frederick Warner and Co.

Potter wanted her books to be printed small, as she took into account the small child’s hands that would be reading her work. This is why those great mini Potter books exist, but are a little but rarer these days which is a shame. There is so much more to learn about Beatrix Potter, she was a fascinating woman who came from an interesting family, and her life is one that showed off not just her talents but her love of the natural world. She was a sheep herder and farmer, buying up numerous farms to preserve the land, and leaving most of her property to the National Trust upon her death.

Potter continued to write and design merchandise for her publishers until poor eyesight contributed to her stopping. She died in 1943 aged 77 from pneumonia and heart disease but her stories have lived on. There have been multiple adaptations and merchandise that keep her characters alive and will continue to do so for many years to come.


Published: September 16th 1992
Goodreads badgePublisher: Frederick Warne & Co.
Pages: 58
Format: Book
Genre: Children
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Beatrix Potter has a wonderful place in my heart. I not only adored the tiny little books I read as a kid, but I had The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends videos and I loved them to bits. I know everyone knows of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, but I am going to review one of my all time favourite Beatrix Potter stories, The Tailor of Gloucester.

The Tailor of Gloucester is the third book Potter wrote, and was published in 1903. It tells the story of a tailor who must make a coat for the mayor’s wedding on Christmas Day. With barely a penny to his name he works with marvellous silks to create the finest coat for the occasion, all the while being watched by mice that live between the walls. The tailor frets over his work as he realises that he has no more twist of cherry-coloured silk. After sending his cat Simpkin out to retrieve some, who seems to return without it, the tailor goes home struck with a fever, unable to keep working.

As usual in Potter’s wonderful style, there are clever animals that are highly personified while still looking realistic. With the tailor being the key character there is still a lot of character given to Simpkin and the mice. Though interestingly the mice speak, but the cat does not. A curiosity I never really noticed before now. This does not mean that Simpkin does not get proper characterisation; he is a little selfish, a little bit sweet, and even a little bit filled with revenge, something that manages to add a lot of drama to this tiny tale.

In a way there are many similarities between this story and the Grimm Brothers’ The Elves and the Shoemaker, but I prefer this story. What makes this better is the tailor, he is such a great character, you care for him, and fear for him, and worry relentlessly about him and want him to be ok. You also chide Simpkin and love Simpkin and adore the scurrying mice that run from house to house. Also, I discovered something else wonderful whilst writing this review, this story is based on real events, though the mice were humans, but the sentiment remains!

I’m not saying that as I thought about this gorgeous book I started to tear up but I totally did and I think it is one of the most wonderful stories of Potter’s, it was certainly her favourite, and it is one that should be remembered by people more often; away from Peter Rabbit and yes, as much as I adore Jemima Puddleduck even away from her sometimes.

The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends did a wonderful adaptation of this book, like all the episodes it is quite faithful, and creative, and allows Potter’s characters to come to life. If you would like to watch The Tailor of Gloucester episode and have your heart moved and broken and warmed, you can watch it here. You can also read the story here.